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5E Mythological Figures: Sir Lancelot (5E)

Welcome to the second installment of Mythological Figures, a column for introducing icons from history to your Fifth Edition game. Last post featured Achilles but today we’re pushing the clock forward to the Arthurian age to design Camelot’s second greatest—and perhaps most beleaguered—knight: Lancelot du Lac!

Raised by the Lady of the Lake, it’s no wonder that Sir Lancelot is so wrapped up in contradiction. Despite being a naturally talented knight and a genuine friend to King Arthur, ultimately his love for Queen Guinevere leads him to betrayal. Vanquisher of Méléagant, frequently masquerading tournament knight, battling away the affections of Morgan le Fay, pining over the queen until his death 6 weeks after hers, ending his later penitent years as a priest.

As with the last post let us know who you want to see next!

Lancelot
Medium humanoid (human), neutral good fighter (champion) 7/paladin (oath of devotion) 6

Armor Class
20 (plate mail, shield)
Hit Points 119 (14d10+42)
Speed 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
16 (+3)11 (+0)17 (+3)13 (+1)9 (-1)14 (+2)

Saving Throws
Str +5, Dex +4 (with shield), Con +5, Int +3, Wis +6, Cha +9
Skills Animal Handling +4, Athletics +8, Deception +7, Perception +4
Condition Immunities disease
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages Common
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)

Action Surge (1/short rest). Once on his turn, Lancelot can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.

Aura of Protection.
Whenever Lancelot or a friendly creature within 10 feet of him must make a saving throw, the creature gains a +2 bonus to the saving throw as long as he is conscious (included above).

Channel Divinity (1/short rest).
Lancelot can channel his divinity through the two following features.
Sacred Weapon. As an action, Lancelot imbues one weapon that he is holding with positive energy. For 1 minute, he adds +2 to attack rolls made with that weapon. The weapon also emits bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light 20 feet beyond that. If the weapon is not already magical, it becomes magical for the duration.
Lancelot can end this effect on his turn as part of any other action. If he is no longer holding or carrying this weapon, or if he falls unconscious, this effect ends.
Turn the Unholy. As an action, Lancelot presents his holy symbol and speaks a prayer censuring fiends and undead, using his Channel Divinity. Each fiend or undead that can see or hear him within 30 feet must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes damage.
A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from Lancelot as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of him. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.​

Divine Sense (5/long rest).
As an action, until the end of his next turn Lancelot knows the location of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of him that is not behind total cover. He knows the type (celestial, fiend, or undead) of any being whose presence he senses, but not its identity. Within the same radius, he also detects the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated, as with the hallow spell.

Divine Smite.
When Lancelot hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, he can expend one spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon’s damage. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d8 for each spell level higher than 1st, to a maximum of 3d8. The damage increases by 1d8 if the target is an undead or a fiend.

Feat: Master of the Shield.
While he has his shield, Lancelot adds +2 to Dexterity saving throws against spells or other harmful effects that only target him and he can use a bonus action to use it to shove a creature within 5 feet.

Lay on Hands (30 points/long rest).
As an action, Lancelot can touch a creature and restore a number of hit points to it, up to the maximum amount remaining in this pool. Alternatively, he can expend 5 hit points to cure the target of one disease or neutralize one poison affecting it.

Remarkable Athlete.
Lancelot adds +2 to any Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution check he makes that doesn’t already use his proficiency bonus. In addition, when he makes a running long jump, the distance he can cover increases by 3 feet.

Second Wind (1/short rest).
On his turn, Lancelot can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+7 hit points.

Spellcasting.
Lancelot is a 6th-level spellcaster that uses Charisma as his spellcasting ability (spell save DC 15; +7 to hit with spell attacks). Lancelot has the following spells prepared from the paladin’s spell list:
1st level (4 slots): bless, divine favor, heroism, protection from evil and good, sanctuary
2nd level (2 slots): aid, lesser restoration, magic weapon, zone of truth

Superior Critical.
Lancelot’s weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 18–20.

ACTIONS

Extra Attacks.
Lancelot attacks twice.

Longsword.
Melee Weapon Attack:
+9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8+5) slashing damage if wielded in one hand or 8 (1d10+3) slashing damage if wielded in two hands.

Dagger.
Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack:
+8 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/40 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) piercing damage.

Heavy Crossbow.
Ranged Weapon Attack:
+5 to hit, range 100/400 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d10) piercing damage.

REACTIONS

Feat: Master of the Shield.
Lancelot can reflexively protect his body with his shield. When he is subjected to an effect that allows him to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, Lancelot can use his reaction to take no damage if he succeeds on the saving throw.

Feat: Master of the Sword.
Lancelot can use his reaction when wielding a sword to gain a +1 bonus to his AC until the start of his next turn or until he is disarmed. In addition, Lancelot has advantage on opportunity attacks.
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler

Dragonhelm

Knight of Solamnia
Interesting, that differs from is 1e Deities and Demigod stats:

Paladin 20

Str 19
Dex 18
Con 18
Int 14
Wis 13
Cha 18

AC-3
MR standatd
MV12 (6 in armor)
HP 141
AL LG

#AT 2
by weapon +3/+7

It's only slightly different. That's pretty darn close! :)

I think I would go with the fighter class and maybe the cavalier subclass. I could see several different ways of going, though.
 

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pemerton

Legend
What are Lancelot's Bond, Ideal and Flaw?

One interpretation: Bond: Arthure; Ideal: the Round Table; Flaw: love for Guinevere.

A different interpretation: Bond: Guinevere; Ideal: glory; Flaw: deceit of Arhur.
 


Being the best swordsman out of 13 or so folks could very well just mean that he took a feat.

Or it could just be that he's a higher level.

Legends and Lore from 2nd edition has Lancelot's stats as such:

Str 18/00, Dex 18, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 18

One of my biggest pet peeves is the extreme reverence that is given to 'named' NPCs in game products - because he's Lancelot he has to have four maxed stats and absolutely can't have any below average?

The effect of this is to put those characters on to a plane where the PCs can never match them - no matter how long they adventure for, or what they achieve, they can never match up. Well, unless the player cheat when 'rolling' his stats, of course.

I much prefer the stat array used in the OP - at least it allows for a PC to grow to that point.

(My 'favourite' example of this is Luke Skywalker from the d20 Star Wars games. Luke, as we first see him in the first film, really should be a viable starting PC. But there's no way to get from the character creation system to the stats given for him in the book. But I digress.)

Fallen paladin maybe. Can't go schtuping other people's wives.

Surely that depends on his specific oath? And he is French...
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
One of my biggest pet peeves is the extreme reverence that is given to 'named' NPCs in game products - because he's Lancelot he has to have four maxed stats and absolutely can't have any below average?

I'm with you on that one. Lancelot in my mind isn't a weightlifter, or a gymnast. He's fit and athletic, but he's not Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bruce Lee; he's high level, though.
 

Kobold Boots

First Post
One of my biggest pet peeves is the extreme reverence that is given to 'named' NPCs in game products - because he's Lancelot he has to have four maxed stats and absolutely can't have any below average?

The effect of this is to put those characters on to a plane where the PCs can never match them - no matter how long they adventure for, or what they achieve, they can never match up. Well, unless the player cheat when 'rolling' his stats, of course.

I much prefer the stat array used in the OP - at least it allows for a PC to grow to that point.

(My 'favourite' example of this is Luke Skywalker from the d20 Star Wars games. Luke, as we first see him in the first film, really should be a viable starting PC. But there's no way to get from the character creation system to the stats given for him in the book. But I digress.)

Personally, I think it comes down to context and perspective when using the source material.

So in this thread, the OP provides a version of Lancelot that's clearly inside the bounds of the game system and intended to be used as a PC or NPC from the perspective of the character being mortal, but notable.
Then the first comparison comes from Deities and Demigods. The second from Legends & Lore

In the case of the first, well, the OP is not creating a deity or demigod. Simplistic answer, I know, but I think it pretty much rules out the comparison based on context.
In the case of the second, the object was to place that version of Lancelot above the reach of most player characters so that no matter where you used it or in what campaign, it was special.

The problem of course is that once you do that, you encourage player stat inflation because of the "I'm playing a character that's going to eventually be like Arthur" paradigm. Once that goes too far, you get people replying to the OP with "Only XX in this stat"..

Critical thinking is really important when using supplements, and like most other threads, I'm championing some DM ownership in this regard when it comes to his or her campaign.

On the "schtuping wives" thing.. depends on whether he's lawful good or neutral good and how you feel about oaths to the church relative to the era the character was created in. Since he was clearly romance era, catholic dominant, there's a strong tendency for the nobility to doink whomever they wanted, but if you were lawful good and following catholicism, no way it's bueno.

Neutral good, - all is well. Especially in France. But you're still going to lose your social status once everyone knows you did it.. because again, it's in France. Doinking is only ok if everyone gossips about it but no one has proof.

Be well
KB
 
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Personally, I think it comes down to context and perspective when using the source material.

True.

In the case of the first, well, the OP is not creating a deity or demigod. Simplistic answer, I know, but I think it pretty much rules out the comparison based on context.
In the case of the second, the object was to place that version of Lancelot above the reach of most player characters so that no matter where you used it or in what campaign, it was special.

For almost all of the mythologies included in L&L, I'd agree. In the case of the Arthurian myths (and Lankhmar in the 1st Ed Deities and Demigods), I'd argue that those should be examples of champions and so should be on a par with high-level PCs. But, of course, that's a comment on a very old book for editions long since gone, so I'll say no more. :)
 

TerraDave

5ever
Roland was the original paladin.

Lancelot sometimes has some powers. Like in the musical Camelot.

But both he and Achilles stood out as paragons of one on one (or one on many combat). They where essentially unbeatable in melee. Not sure that these write ups really capture that.
 

Gardens & Goblins

First Post
Roland was the original paladin.

Lancelot sometimes has some powers. Like in the musical Camelot.

But both he and Achilles stood out as paragons of one on one (or one on many combat). They where essentially unbeatable in melee. Not sure that these write ups really capture that.

9th level characters versus 1/4 level fodder?

Besides, you can never trust a story about folks with higher charisma scores!
 

Kobold Boots

First Post
I'm with you on that one. Lancelot in my mind isn't a weightlifter, or a gymnast. He's fit and athletic, but he's not Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bruce Lee; he's high level, though.

delerico said:
For almost all of the mythologies included in L&L, I'd agree. In the case of the Arthurian myths (and Lankhmar in the 1st Ed Deities and Demigods), I'd argue that those should be examples of champions and so should be on a par with high-level PCs. But, of course, that's a comment on a very old book for editions long since gone, so I'll say no more.

I agree with you both. Where my argument would then fit is that Arthurian and Lankhmar stuff should never have been in pantheon books and mixed with deities. Heroic persona books absolutely. Avoids all the confusion entirely if writers were just consistent. If you aren't at least half-god, don't go in the book.
 

Kobold Boots

First Post
9th level characters versus 1/4 level fodder?

Besides, you can never trust a story about folks with higher charisma scores!

Exactly. Again a context issue. Just because something is statted to look like a PC does not mean that their adventures had to necessarily be compared to how a standard D&D game is statted.
If Achilles is bad ass, he can either be a high level PC intended to take down an army of PC stated characters (unlikely as PCs are supposed to be special in the first place) OR

He can be special (even 3rd level) and taking on mooks that look well-armed but fall over if they take an hp of damage. This sort of power thought is probably one of the most important exercises any DM has to make about his or her campaign before it starts. How special are PC's when compared to the rest of the game population?

KB
 

TerraDave

5ever
9th level characters versus 1/4 level fodder?

Besides, you can never trust a story about folks with higher charisma scores!

You can interpret any way you want.

But but thats not the focus of the stories. (Cutting down mooks probably looks better on the screen then being described by a storyteller).

They are the ones who beat the best, and can do so under arduous circumstances. They cannot be defeated in a straight fight, or even some crooked ones. Thats their job in the story.

Lancelot can only defeat himself. And does. With Achilles, its the system that thwarts him, and risks disaster in the process. His final death comes from bad luck and plot extension.
 

Gardens & Goblins

First Post
You can interpret any way you want.

But but thats not the focus of the stories. (Cutting down mooks probably looks better on the screen then being described by a storyteller).

They are the ones who beat the best, and can do so under arduous circumstances. They cannot be defeated in a straight fight, or even some crooked ones. Thats their job in the story.

Lancelot can only defeat himself. And does. With Achilles, its the system that thwarts him, and risks disaster in the process. His final death comes from bad luck and plot extension.

Aye, and as you say, that can be interpreted any way. The best can be a 2nd level challenge, they can be 3rd level. They can have plot armour because, hey, its a story, right?

The initial point, 'standing out as paragons' and that counter point that such paragon-like nature is relative to the setting and context, seems fair.
 

Kobold Boots

First Post
You can interpret any way you want.

But but thats not the focus of the stories. (Cutting down mooks probably looks better on the screen then being described by a storyteller).

They are the ones who beat the best, and can do so under arduous circumstances. They cannot be defeated in a straight fight, or even some crooked ones. Thats their job in the story.

Lancelot can only defeat himself. And does. With Achilles, its the system that thwarts him, and risks disaster in the process. His final death comes from bad luck and plot extension.

Cutting down mooks can look however you want it to look as a storyteller. No reason to tell the players that they're fighting mooks if you want your players to have that kind of experience.

The fact that there's a certain mythology around Lancelot and Achilles that makes them invulnerable can create fear on two levels.
1. OMG I'm facing the unbeatable - from the perspective of enemies.
2. OMB I'm unbeatable - I wonder what the cost will be - from the perspective of the players.

If you want your players to feel that way, they should feel all of it. It's not really about cutting down the mooks once you know you can't be beaten.
 

One of my biggest pet peeves is the extreme reverence that is given to 'named' NPCs in game products - because he's Lancelot he has to have four maxed stats and absolutely can't have any below average?
I agree about the maxed scores, and would add extremely high levels and arbitrary special abilities. Maybe it's the result of reverence, or of D&D failing to model heroic/mythic/genre archetypes, or of the game being designed mainly for group play?

But, the lack of dump stat does make sense, knights & nobility in general were often perceived - or, at least, tried to portray themselves - as, paragons who were accomplished at everything. It's just never worked well in D&D to have a bunch of 13s, say, rather than an 18 in the class prime requisite and hang the rest....
 

TerraDave

5ever
Aye, and as you say, that can be interpreted any way. The best can be a 2nd level challenge, they can be 3rd level. They can have plot armour because, hey, its a story, right?

The initial point, 'standing out as paragons' and that counter point that such paragon-like nature is relative to the setting and context, seems fair.

But what's the setting and context? If no one goes beyond, say, 7th level, then that could be their level, and the PCs could join them at some point. Its fine.

If you want to say "here is the greatest warrior from the most famous cycle of legends of all time", make that character 7th level, but then put that into a D&Dverse where others can be much higher level, I am not sure what you are accomplishing. Humor? Some weird ego-trip?

In the stories, Lancelot had a job. In the campaign, he would have a job. You would have to decide what that is.
 

Eltab

Hero
I really like the idea of this series, and the 'plausible player-character' mechanical write-ups.
Thanks!

Post with your ideas on what a penitent paladin should have!
At the end of the movie Excalibur, Lancelot joins Arthur against Mordred's rebellion. (He shows up late.) But he has his full combat abilities from his heyday, even though he is about 20 years out-of-practice.

I'm writing this afb, but perhaps at 15th level: 1/day you get the benefits of the Sentinel feat* even if you have not taken that feat. You must decide to invoke this ability when you roll initiative. This effect lasts until you are no longer plotting activity by initiative; it automatically ends when you take a Rest.
* Are there any other 'center of the melee' feats that work very well together? Add them in too.
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
I really like the idea of this series, and the 'plausible player-character' mechanical write-ups.
Thanks!


At the end of the movie Excalibur, Lancelot joins Arthur against Mordred's rebellion. (He shows up late.) But he has his full combat abilities from his heyday, even though he is about 20 years out-of-practice.

I'm writing this afb, but perhaps at 15th level: 1/day you get the benefits of the Sentinel feat* even if you have not taken that feat. You must decide to invoke this ability when you roll initiative. This effect lasts until you are no longer plotting activity by initiative; it automatically ends when you take a Rest.
* Are there any other 'center of the melee' feats that work very well together? Add them in too.

I'm comfortable to just give the archetype the feat all the time at 15th level (they are paladins after all so feat selection isn't increased like in Lancelot's build) HOWEVER the Sentinel feat isn't actually OGL so let's ape the wording and skirt it with some light obfuscation (in the event somebody has already grabbed the feat).

Added to the archetype comment! (last post on page #1)
 

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